Death of Juan Antonio Samaranch

King and Queen of Spain to attend the funeral of Samaranch in Barcelona

Samaranch died yesterday surrounded by his children and grandchildren after a short illness. The funeral of the former president of the International Olympic Committee will take place today in the cathedral of Barcelona. It will be attended by the King and Queen of Spain as well as Princess Elena. Samaranch died yesterday in the Quirón hospital in Barcelona at the age of 89 years old.

The president of the regional government of Barcelona will be present to receive the funeral procession which will enter the regional government palace at 10.00 am. A civil ceremony will be held today at 10.30 attended by members of the Spanish royal family together with the leader of the opposition, Mariano Rajoy (PP), and various representatives from the international world of sport. The Olympic hymn will be played during the funeral procession. From 12.00 pm to 17.00 the funeral chapel will be open to the public.

When the news of the death of Samaranch, was announced yesterday the King and Queen of Spain sent a telegram to his family in which they recognised his service both to Catalonia and Spain and his commitment to sport and the Olympics.

The president of the government, José Luis Zapatero, said that Samaranch was a decisive figure in the revival of Spanish sport and the Olympic movement. He said that Samaranch had always worked for the good of Spain and sport and was a fundamental figure in helping Spain to host the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona.

The president of the regional government of Barcelona, José Montilla, defined Samaranch as an ‘effective ambassador for both Catalonia and Barcelona.

Jordi Pujol, the former president of the regional government, emphasised that Samaranch should be judged on his service to the public which had lasted for 70 years.

Representatives from the world of sport also expressed their condolences. The secretary of state for sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, said that with regards to the world of sport Samaranch was ‘a modernizer’ who was ‘ahead of his time’.

The current president of the Olympic committee, Jacques Rogge, said that he was very sad because Samaranch had been pivotal to the modernization of the Olympic movement and had helped the games prosper in modern times.